When I was in middle school, I kept a diary of sorts, where I would bullet point the things that I did that day on one page and then describe the dream I had that night (if any) on another page. My overly ambitious teenage hope was to unlock the secrets of my mind and discover how my subconscious influenced my conscious. Well, after about several months of this experiment, I was left with just a log of the things that I did (school, practiced the piano, went to the mall, watched TV, etc.) and a few run-on sentences about my dreams. This diary (which was about as emotional and descriptive as a grocery list), yielded no such grand insights, however, it proves to be a fun little souvenir that brings me a nostalgic joy.
Now that I am finally writing in complete sentences with a slew of descriptive adjectives, this blog has become another time capsule into my life. While I am writing this blog for personal, long-term reasons (more here), I realize that capturing life for others has more immediate goals.
I recently read the book Not That Kind of Girl by writer-director-actress creative person, Lena Dunham. In more than one instance in her memoir, Dunham mentions that one of the reasons she writes is because she wants to be known and heard. She says that she does it because she loves to share, but also because she wants the glory of it all. In this same book, Dunham uncovers her grandmother’s memoir, which is essentially a chronicle of events in her community in the early 20th century. In describing the writing, Dunham comments, “she did it not for glory but for posterity – spare, practical prose designed simply to get the information out, to prove that she was there and is still here.” So, while Dunham’s writing is intended to get attention and reactions, her grandmother’s memoir was intended to be a practical and insightful source for future generations to learn about a particular region.
When I think about our world today, I see so many outlets for us to write about and document our journeys through life. Whether it is through blogging or Instagram, or whatever the next big thing is, there are plenty of ways for us to leave our trace on the Internet for posterity. However, much of what we put up online (for better or for worse…but probably for the better) is only temporary. With Facebook and Instagram stories, and Snap Chat, we are glamming up and sharing our “best selves” with the world for a hot minute to bask in the momentary “likes” and praise. To me, this act of ‘popping in and then right back out’ is as if we are actively choosing to post/ write/ snap pictures for “recognition.” However, when we choose to share our more ordinary moments—the good, the bad, and downright confounding—through our writings and photos online and then let them live, it is a little more as if we are creating a memento to remember our lives as they were (rather than how we wanted them to be).
I’m not making a commentary on either posting for “recognition” or “remembrance” (I have happily engaged in both), however, as I continue on this blogging journey, the growing list of posts I have cast into the world continues to make me smile.
Even if keeping a diary is not your thing (it certainly wasn’t mine as a tween), a journal full of lost memories may someday become invaluable.